LAHORE- The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Tuesday urged the government to review marriage halls closure decision to save more than 50 industries and jobs of millions of workers.

Addressing a press conference at LCCI, stakeholders said that closure of marriage halls would not only be a big blow to this industry but would also put the employment of millions of workers on stake. Government must reconsider the decision to shut marriage halls from November 20th, said LCCI President Mian Tariq Misbah, Senior Vice President Muhammad Nasir Hameed Khan, Vice President Tahir Manzoor Ch, Chairman Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) Faisal Jahangir and Patron In-Chief Punjab Marriage Halls Association & President Lahore Marriage Halls Association. Chaudhry Muhammad Nusrat Tahir from Pakistan Poultry Association, former LCCI Senior Vice President Ali Hussam Asghar, former Vice President Mian Zahid Jawaid Ahmad, President All Punjab Marriage Halls Association Khalid Idrees, Senior Vice President All Punjab Marriage Halls Association Malik Aqeel, Chairman Lahore Marriage Halls Association Safdar Warraich, Chairman LCCI Standing Committee on Marriage Halls and Caterers Junaid Ahmed Zia also spoke on the occasion.

“It would be a chain reaction as more than 50 allied industries would be affected badly therefore, government should withdraw the decision of Marriage Hall closure in the larger interest of economy.”

They said that the marriage halls sector contributes substantially to the GDP of Pakistan. Closure of banquet halls and marquees impacts more than 50 allied industries including poultry, rice, meat, cooking oil, flour, fruits/vegetables, crockery, clothing, shoes, cosmetics, decoration, furniture, electronics/lighting, photography, wedding cards and jewelry etc. Around 20% revenues of the food industry in Punjab are cognizant upon the operations of marriage halls. Therefore, govt. must reconsider its decision to close marriage halls from 20th November.

They said that the marriage halls sector has been adversely impacted by the lockdown and the consequent economic slowdown in recent times.

They said that banquet halls industry has suffered a lot due to the previous six-months-long lockdown and now they should be allowed to work with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and government should facilitate. They said that government should defer markup for at least one year as marriage halls and catering businesses are facing a severe financial crunch.

They said that State Bank of Pakistan had introduced a temporary Finance Scheme for the payment of salaries and wages of the labour but owners of marriage halls were not accommodated while SBP has demanded extra security from the marriage hall owners and caterers to apply. They should be facilitated in this regard on easy conditions.

They mentioned that catering sector was purchasing rice of worth one billion per month from the millers and closure of marriage halls would not only cause huge loss to the rice industry but to the farmers as well.